: The Steelers need to add three serviceable offensive linemen via the draft and free agency. Center is the most pressing need and will be the most difficult to address. Sean Mahan was Pittsburgh's only free-agent signing of note last year, and he was a disaster. This is an organization that has become accustomed to exceptional play at the pivot, going from Ray Mansfield to Mike Webster to Dermontti Dawson to Jeff Hartings to, ahem, Mahan.
: This is the Steelers' second biggest need because tackles are more difficult to find than guards. LT Marvel Smith is still playing at a high level, but he is up for free agency a year from now and is battling a chronic back issue. Smith might be better off on the right side at this advanced stage of his career. Starting RT Willie Colon has trouble with speed rushers and probably would be better off inside at guard. That leaves tackle as a pressing need that very well could be addressed with Pittsburgh's first-round selection in April.
: When Aaron Smith tore his biceps last season, Pittsburgh's run defense completely fell apart. Smith should be back to his outstanding level of play in 2008, but the Steelers desperately need to find a third end for their 3-4 scheme. Brett Keisel is a good player on the opposite side, but he would be far more effective with more rest in the course of a game. This need will not be filled easily. It is very rare for a draft pick to contribute immediately at this position in this scheme because most defensive linemen who are talented enough to play in the NFL are upfield-penetrating types.
: Pittsburgh ran diminutive Willie Parker into the ground last year and, although he should return to full strength, the team needs one of its traditional pile movers. The offense struggled running the ball near the goal line and was more of a finesse group overall last season. That isn't the Steelers' style. In a running-back-rich draft, Pittsburgh should find a suitable powerful backup for Parker with one of its first four selections.
: The Steelers are going to make one more effort to re-sign Alan Faneca, but assuming he takes his services elsewhere, Pittsburgh is thin at guard. If the Steelers can address center and tackle, their need for a guard should fall, but make no mistake -- it is a major need without Faneca. RG Kendall Simmons is a middle-of-the-road starter, and youngster Chris Kemoeatu shows promise as a straight-ahead pile mover but is far from a sure thing as a starter.